The other evening, I was browsing through some old film magazines and picked up the Fall 1979 issue of CINEFANTASTIQUE, which featured ALIEN on the cover. Old magazines are fantastic time capsules, particularly those from before the internet and before industry marketing teams turned the mags into publicity rags. But what particularly interested me was the letters section. It’s where you get to the real meat of both the mag and the times in which it was published. Something like the forums that litter the internet today, the letters columns of those old mags really gives an insight into what people thought 'back in the day'.

So I noticed a short letter berating the editor of CINEFANTASTIQUE for his negative editorials regards the popular science fiction films of the time. Namely STAR WARS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and ALIEN. “I keep running across articles devoted to films which you feel are beneath your standards,” the letter stated. The writer of the letter contended that rather than being the film magazine with a ‘Sense of Wonder’ as proclaimed on the editorial, it was instead one with “a sense of hypocrisy”. Indeed, the writer of the letter noted that CINEFANTASTIQUE evidently believed that “STAR WARS was too much fun, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is nice, but its aliens too cute, and ALIEN is too yucky and besides, it reminds you of a still you saw from PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES.”

The response from the editor, the late Frederick S Clarke, argued that he did indeed have a sense of wonder, still feeling the buzz from watching 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY back in 1968. He just didn’t seem to think much of the then 'modern offerings'.

I noted with some irony that I have a similar feeling nowadays, loving STAR WARS and ALIEN as old classics and disliking all the modern CGI-dominated mindless dreck we have now. Times change and yet they don’t. But what really struck me was the name of the writer of the letter- Sara Campbell. I knew that name.

Sara Campbell will forever be linked, [albeit in a minor way,] with BLADE RUNNER lore. Few people appreciate the fact that when BR was released, it really bombed in spectacular fashion. I think it grossed only $17 million on a $24 million production budget that needed $50 million to break even. No-one saw it and generally, critical opinion was very negative. Back in late 1982 the film was over, dead, finished, and the industry was very different back then. Films didn’t turn up on £20 DVDs and Blu-Rays after four months, they disappeared for years. Films were only kept alive by their fans who read magazines about them, collected memorabilia and the like. There was no internet to gather together the thoughts and love of fans of movies in forums.

Here in England, I watched Blade Runner dumbstruck. I fell head over heels in love with this film, only to watch in dismay as the film faded away out of public consciousness. It was a cult movie back when the word cult meant something. When in college a few years later, a lecturer looking through my art folder saw an image I had drawn from BR and waxed lyrical about the film… I remember feeling how odd it was to actually meet someone other than my mate Andy who shared my high opinion of the film. Of course, years later, thanks to video, BR became popular, the Directors Cut got released, critics re-wrote their opinion of the film… but for those of us who saw it back in 1982, I honestly think BR feels different... special in a way that later fans could never understand.

Sara Campbell was one of those fans from 1982. Just as I was blown away, over in America - in Wisconsin - so was Sara. Someone I would never know or meet, but who shared with me a love of a special film. Sara got together with a few friends and they made a fanzine about BR, titled CITYSPEAK. You can find the first issue online if you run its title through a search engine. It’s a fascinating window into a time when BR was something new, before it became imitated, before it became popular. Back when it was something special–almost secret. Sara’s love of the film shines through. Reading CITYSPEAK I’m dragged back to those old days, how it felt back then. Later when the film became popular and the book RETROFITTING BLADE RUNNER came out, Sara’s name was mentioned as one of the first voices to popularize and analyze the film. It was the first time I had read about her and her fanzine devoted to BR.

I never got the opportunity to know or meet Sara on any internet forums, to share memories of those golden days of 1982. Sara never got to see her favourite film in either its flawed Directors Cut version or completed Final Cut. Having produced three issues of CITYSPEAK, Sara died in 1985.

But it's funny how someone can live on, in the thoughts recorded in letters to magazines or self-produced fanzines, so that someone half-way across the world who loved the same movie can share those thoughts and opinions, and wonder what they might have thought of the films later renaissance. I guess Sara would have been excited about the Final Cut as I was last year- I guess she would have loved it. It’s a damned shame she never saw it.

So, how odd the strange coincidence after all these years, reading through an old film mag and stumbling upon that letter by Sara Campbell some three years before BR came around? How weird is that? Anyway, I urge any fans of BLADE RUNNER to run CITYSPEAK through a search engine and read that fanzine and re-live that buzz from 1982, or if they saw the film years afterward on video, learn what it was like back then for the original fans.


~ Ghost of '82 West Midlands, England, September 2008


Blade Runner is one of the most popular and influential science-fiction films of all time–and it has become an enduring cult classic favorite. It was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

This 1982 film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in the year 2019–a dark, polluted and overcrowded city dominated by cloud-piercing buildings, looming neon billboards, and air dense with acid rain and flying traffic. And the city has another problem–rogue Replicants

Replicants are human androids that are created to perform hazardous or menial tasks in the Off-world Colonies. Their use is prohibited here on Earth. If anyone is suspected of being a Replicant, a special police force, known as the Blade Runner Unit, are notified. Blade Runners have orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant.

The plot focuses on the trials and tribulations of retired Rep-detect, Rick Deckard. He is forced back into active duty to help L.A.P.D.’s Blade Runner Unit out of a jam. He has to track down four rogue Replicants and retire them–a euphemism for destroying them.

Blade Runner debuted on June 25, 1982, in over 1200 theatres, throughout the United States. However, it had not lived up to box office expectations. It could be said that Blade Runner was the most influential box-office-flop-turned-cult-classic film of all time. 

But, this article is not about the movie Blade Runner or about the multilingual chatter heard in the background of the film–referred to as cityspeak. This article is about its fandom. In particular, it’s about one member of that fandom and the passion and dedication of this fan. It could be said that she was probably among the movie’s very first fanatics. And yes–the fan was a she. I am referring to Sara Campbell–best known for her Blade Runner fan network fanzine, CITYSPEAK.   

CITYSPEAK debuted in December of 1982. It was compiled, edited and published by Sara Campbell. By 1985, after only two issues were published, Sara died. But what she left behind was a treasure trove of early insight for the Blade Runner fandom community. 
After the final CITYSPEAK issue, The Special Edition, was posthumously released in 1988, it had largely faded into almost total obscurity, becoming a much sought-after item for hardcore fans.  

Aside from a mention in Paul M. Sammon’s book, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, there really wasn't much else known about CITYSPEAK outside the small network of subscribers and hardcore Blade Runner fans. 

Paul Sammon wrote;

"... things were also stirring on the print world’s grassroots level. In December 1982, for instance, a young woman named Sara Campbell (based in Madison, Wisconsin), published the first Blade Runner fanzine. This homegrown publication was titled Cityspeak. It contained articles, essays, short stories, and letters of comments, all exclusively devoted to Blade Runner. Cityspeak was eagerly snapped up by core members of the nascent Blade Runner cult, and the first Blade Runner ‘zine would continue to appear for two more issues until Cityspeak editor Sara Campbell’s untimely death, at the age of twenty-six, in 1985."  

Then, in July 2007, a fellow Blade Runner enthusiast got a hold of the first edition of CITYSPEAK. And he was more than happy to share this gem with the rest of the fandom, and sent me a copy to post on KippleZone–a DADoES/Blade Runner fansite. And, over the next five years, I’d scour the internet in search of the other issues. But much to my disappointment, I was unable to locate them. 

Then a thought occurred to me. Wouldn't it be awesome if someone were to get in touch with some of the folks who were involved with the CITYSPEAK fanzine? So, that’s exactly what I set out to do. 

The first issue of CITYSPEAK was an intelligent, insightful and fascinating read. It contained an editorial, three letters, a reprinted interview from Rogues Gallery: Unofficial Harrison Ford fanzine, Issue #4, 1982, two fanfictions, a poem, and the transcript of a group discussion about the movie.  

While the letters contained fascinating perspectives and impressions, one of the highlights of this issue was the transcript of the discussion of Blade Runner, titled A Chitown Talkathon. The depth of their discussions was incredibly impressive; especially considering that the only source materials they had–besides seeing Blade Runner in the theatre–was reading what materials were released in magazines at the time. There was no internet. And the VHS video wasn't released until the following year. There were things mentioned that I had not thought of. And I used to moderate a Blade Runner fan forum, so I've seen it all–at least, I thought I had.

The discussion took place at the 40th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), held September 2–6, 1982, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. The article was divided between the first two issues of CITYSPEAK. The first half of the article covered such topics as their first impressions of the film, comparing and contrasting the film and the novel, what the film critics overlooked in the movie, the little details–hidden gems–found throughout the scenes, and their assessments of some of the characters–among other things. 

The folks who attended this discussion were Sara Campbell, Rose Arnold, and Eric Larson. Phil Kaveny, a member of Madison’s Sci-Fi group, was in attendance not only because he liked the movie, but was also up on PKD’s work and could provide some insight from that perspective. Samuel Tomaino, from New Jersey, was also present and participated in the discussion. 

The second half of the article dealt with Deckard and his magic, the deck-a-rep theory, movies as products, and the ending of the film.

The other highlight of the first issue was the article The Unseen BR, by Anne Elizabeth Zeek. I was truly astounded by the depth of insight written in this article. The Unseen BR focuses on the effects that a review can have on a movie in American society. Specifically, the review in question is, Is the Violence in 'Blade Runner' A Socially Destructive Element? by Glenn Collins, written for the NY Times, June 30, 1982. Anne Elizabeth described how most of the American reviewers completely missed the point of the film.   

For example, her depiction of the metaphors in Zhora's death scene was enlightening. She praised this scene, exclaiming it one of the most metaphoric scenes in the entire movie. She referenced Deckard's VK session with Rachael with Zhora's death scene by pointing out their interconnectedness, using Deckard's line; "He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar." 

She wrote; 

“...Zhora's death-struggle takes place within glass walls. There is one moment of truly terrible beauty when she falls for the first time and her blood-striped coat wings out from her body. Zhora becomes the butterfly in the killing jar. The attempt to attach the butterfly symbol to Zhora is strengthened by the earlier image–one of the most beautiful in the film–of her within the glass bell jar of the hair dryer". 

Similarly, she described and compared another scene with the VK session between Holden and Leon. She compared Pris' death scene--when she's kicking and screaming on her back--to a line from Holden, when he said; "The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't." 

She continued;

"It is with Pris' death that Deckard, of whom there may, indeed, have been some doubt earlier, passes his own Voight-Kampff test. [...] The deaths are cathartic–and make us realize our humanity so much more immediately."

Closing her article, Anne Elizabeth predicted; "...memory spans being short, there is hope for BR...{people will come to see} an intelligently made movie, a movie that makes you think, a complete film experience." I believe that time has come.

With my attempt to contact former CITYSPEAKIANS, I was able to reach quite a few of them. I made contact with Kathy Vergano, who wrote a letter in the first edition. However, she said she’d pass on an interview. She’s not much of a fan anymore, she said. I also contacted Phil Kaveny and Samuel Tomaino. And they too declined to be interviewed. 

My search for Pat Nussman, who wrote the short fan-fiction titled, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, I am saddened to report, found that she had died in 2003. 
I reached Anne Elizabeth Zeek. She shared some details about Sara Campbell, and was very, very glad to find that her name is still remembered. They were roommates in NYC from September of 1982 until her death.

I also reached Rosemary Edghill, who finished the prep of CITYSPEAK for press after Sara's death. In 1988, she dedicated her book, Two of a Kind: An English Trifle, "To Anne Elizabeth Zeek and Sara Campbell: Jacks or better."  

And I had an enlightening, lengthy conversation with Eric Larson. Eric has been in fandom since 1980, attending 3 to 4 conventions a year. But what he is most known for are his panels and talks on film and sci-fi media topics. His knowledge and interest in film marketing and design are always brought on with fun quips and odd little stories that amuse and delight fans. And that has certainly helped with our interview here.  

And, there was one more person that I wanted to interview most of all. That was Rose Arnold. Eric Larson knew how to get in touch with her and said he’d contact Rose on my behalf. However, her health was in decline at that time. Then, in April of 2009, she died.

Through the excerpts and interviews featured here in CITYSPEAK Revisited, we catch a glimpse of Sara Campbell and the passion she had for this film. It comes to life through Eric’s recollections and Anne’s and Rosemary's words. They show us just how much of an impression Sara had on those around her and how the memories of her had not subsided in the least. She indeed holds a special place in the hearts of those who knew her. 

In CITYSPEAK’s first issue, there is a short memoriam written by Sara about Philip K. Dick. And I find it fitting to reprint a portion of that article here, for the very same could be said of Sara today. 

Philip K. Dick…Goodbye, Hello

"I imagine that, somewhere in the vast and mysterious cradle of creation, Philip K. Dick must be having himself a pretty good time. Think of everything he has to keep him laughing: the various squabbles over Blade Runner […] It would be possessive of us to dedicate this first issue of CITYSPEAK to Philip K. Dick, and perhaps a bit self-glorifying. But it’s not too much to dedicate it to the spirit of this fine writer, a spirit which was always passionately present in his work–stories of anger, compassion and wonder. Hopefully, not all of this spirit has been returned to the creative force; some of it remains behind, to become part of our own creative ideals. 

"When Blade Runner first came out, I remember feeling furious that Dick had died at such an unfair time, how rotten it was that he was gone. Now that I have had time to discover more of his writing, however, I keep thinking: Thank God this guy existed!"

~ C.A. Chicoine | Massachusetts, February 2012

by C.A. Chicoine

Eric Jon Larson is a design instructor at the Madison Media Institute. He has years of experience working in Hollywood for studios like Lucasfilm and Disney. He ran a Star Wars convention, FilmCon, from 1999 - 2009, which brought people together to talk about acting, films, and film-making. In 2010, he organized TeslaCon  the only immersion-themed Steampunk convention in North America. 

Eric was interviewed for this article over the telephone from his home in Wisconsin in October 2008.

What prompted Sara Campbell to start CITYSPEAK? How did it all begin? 

The whole idea behind CITYSPEAK was this fandom–which was very serious–started talking to each other. There was no internet. We had telephone and we had letters. And we telephoned each other a lot. I remember her telling me that she would telephone her friends around the United States, or they’d call her, and they’d write five or ten-page letters to each other. And that’s how it would carry on.

Everything was typed on my dad’s typewriter. I think she did 99% of it on her own. She really wanted it to be a thought-provoking fanzine where people could talk more about it. I can’t remember the exact number we ran offfifty, if I remember correctly. Subsequent ones, we ran more. There wasn’t a big fan base. You'd call people to get their addresses and they’d let people know, and then they would send you whatever, $5.00. And that would cover the Xeroxing and postage. And it wasn’t that she wanted to make money off it either. That wasn’t the point. She really wanted it read through–and for Blade Runner. “We have to spread the word.”

She started it with her friends, Mary and Janet Schmidt, and Rose Arnold. Mary, Janet and Rose were the big Harrison Ford fans. They would get tons and tons of stuff on Ford. And they used to go to a convention in the Midwest, in Wyoming, Michigan. What had happened was–this is before the internet, before anything happened–they would bring all the stuff home and make copies to distribute. 

I wanted to go to this convention. I was seventeen, and Mary and Janet drove down to Beaver Dam, about a forty minute drive from where I lived. But my mother wanted to meet these girls first.

“Hi, Mrs. Larson. We just love your son. He’s so nice,” they'd say.  

They always wanted a little brother. We got along really well. We all went to this convention. The thing that struck me was; all these women are old. Now I look back and they’re my age, or even older–45 or 52. 

I gave her the tools to put the first CITYSPEAK issue together at my dad’s office, on a Saturday afternoon. 
I started to do the Star Wars fanzine, The Whills. And she thought of doing something. And, of course, everyone thought it would really be too hard with her classes in English and everything. But she said, "I can do this!" 

Then she says to me, “Your dad has a copier.”

"Yeau, I can use my dad’s copier." (Not even asking him.)

“Okay," she said. "I’ll start working on the art.”    

My dad had one of the newer copiers–and that’s how she ended up getting some of the pictures on the covers of CITYSPEAK. She would just sit there and play with the opacity. 

“Oh! I sorta like this!” she'd exclaim.  

And she’d keep going and make another pass on the copier until we finally got the covers. 

But I think the funniest thing was when she started writing the cover for High Rise Life–which is probably the most insane thing I’ve seen her do. She had this like... not a cackle, but this kind of ridiculous laugh. And she’d sit there and giggle as she did so. And one of the funnier things about the whole thing was she made up this list of possible headlines; “The Amazing Revival of Bachman-Turner Overdrive”, and “Indoor games for the ozone season.”

High Rise Life was another Blade Runner fanzine that featured stories, articles, etc. I think there were two issues–maybe three. The first had a yellow cover with Roy Batty on the cover. The next one was called Beautiful High Rise Life, and had an article, titled "Could Anthony Newly been prevented?" 

Her way of thinking about this is very funny. She’d look at it and go; “Well, think about it. It’s the future.” She was very passionate about this. She'd say, “Oh my God! It’s so funny!” And then do that cackle–just giggle–and write more down. 

But, it was a very serious thing for her. She'd look at some of these other fanzines, and say, “You know, I don’t want this thing to be swooning over Harrison Ford.” She really didn’t like that kind of crap. She often rolled her eyes at it. That’s not the movie to her. She liked Harrison Ford, but that wasn’t the reason liked Blade Runner.  

She thought a lot about the future as portrayed in Blade Runner. She'd say, “You know, this is the way the future’s going to be. It’s going to be really dark, but really colorful.” She liked the way the story was written. And she didn't want this to be all about Harrison Ford. It wasn’t anything against Star Wars or Indiana Jones–we all had fun going to them together. But, I think this movie just touched her in a way that Star Wars touched me. 

Do you remember your first time watching Blade Runner with Sara?

I remember seeing it with her in a very small theatre called the Esquire. We were pretty mesmerized.

I remember her saying it was an adult type of a filma thinking film. You don’t walk in to watch it for the special effects. You should walk in and learn about the characters. She was really passionate that. She loved Dr. Eldon Tyrell. She laughed the way he would turn.

Sara was rather tall and gangly. I remember her, when Roy was killing the doctor, she would raise her knees to her chest and go [gasps]. It was real to her–it wasn’t fake. 

I remember when we left the theatre and were walking out–I remember this very clearly, because, Sara was to my left and it’s {representing the end titles} kinda drowning–and she just stood there with this smile on her face, and said, "Aw-wow. That was really heavy.” We didn't say anything for a couple minutes. It took a while for it to sink in.

I think it’s hard for people to remember this. It wasn't a film that was common then. It was very heavy. And things, (politically/economically), were not happy. Yes, the guy gets the girl. But, it was bleak–it wasn't a normal film. People were used to Star Wars, or the new Star Trek movie. This was a film. It wasn't American. Reagan was Americanizing everything.

I even heard people say, “We should remake it”. That’s when I open my mouth and go; “Christ, how dumb are you? You don’t do that.” If they tried to do that, and she were alive, I think she would write a campaign that would probably stop them. She wouldn’t go for that. It’d be like; Don’t even think about it.  

She had a passion about it. And it was about film in general. But she could really zone in on something. She really took it to heart. And if she wanted to defend it, she’d defend it ‘til the end of time. 

Before director Ridley Scott came forward and stated his position on whether Deckard was a Replicant or not, there was much debate over this. Do you recall any conversations you had with Sara about the Deck-a-rep theory? 

I remember Sara, early on, saying; “Ah, he’s a Replicant.” It is what it is. It was pretty obvious from the very beginning. I remember, we had talked about Rachael's termination date–she has none. And she’d say something like; “If she doesn’t, maybe he doesn’t. What does that mean?” I remember, one day she said, “What if they build a kid?”  

What do you think Sara's impression would be over the growth in popularity of the Blade Runner fandom? 

It’s interesting. It transcended the normal sci-fi movie genre. It’s almost bigger than Star Wars, in a way. It’s like Forbidden Planet, or The Day the Earth Stood Still. That’s sort of where it is now. Not like Star Wars. It’s not done as well, in terms of money, but it’s put on a higher plateau. It’s sort of interesting. I don’t know what she would have thought about it. I think she would be pretty aghast of what some fandoms do these days.  

Do you know if she ever got the Blade Runner ERTL cars?

I had the ERTL cars–that was about it. But, she had an idea of her own. We went to East Towne, the mall here, to KB Toys. She had been wanting to get something for Blade Runnerin toys. 

She said to me, “You know, it’s a shame they don’t have action figures.”

"What the hell are you talking about? Why would you have a Pris action figure?"

She looked at me with this huge frickin’ Cheshire cat grin, and said, “Oh my God! I’ll make one!” 

"You’ll what?"
So, she grabs my hand, (Everyone probably thought we were dating.), and drags me into KB Toys. 

She asked the store manager, "Okay, where are the Barbies?”
"Down that isle," he replied. 

"You wanna make a Pris out of a Barbie?" I asked her. 

“Oh my God! I think that’s so funny!”

And then she picks up a Ken doll. And I asked her, "What the hell’s that for?"
“We need to make Roy.” 

"But, he doesn't even look like him!"

“Oh God, grow up. Of course they don’t look like this. But, I’ll make them look like them.”

So she buys the dolls and took them home. She didn't say anything to anyone about them for about two weeks. 

Then she called me up on the telephone, and said, “You gotta come down.”

So, I went down to see her at her apartment. And on her shelf was a Roy and Pris doll. Pris wore a toy girdle belt and had the bad make-up on. Sara had gone and bought tinted copper paint to put in their eyes. And then she found–I don’t know where she found it...maybe off of some wedding decoration–a plastic dove. She’d taken some nails for the hands and then attached the dove to the other hand. 

“Oh my God! Aren't they perfect?!” she exclaimed. 

And of course, she had tried to make a box for them and everything. And she had them proudly displayed. And she says, “I think I’m the only one in America with a Roy and Pris doll.”

”Yes, you probably are!”

And the idea then wasI think the Raiders doll was out thenand she didn't really like Harrison Ford, but she was debating if she should buy one to make an actual Deckard doll. It was pretty comical to watch. She was very, very excited about it. 

Do you know if she ever read any of Philip K. Dick’s books? 

She had read Philip K. Dick before this movie. She started reading more of his work afterwards. We had this discussion once about how some of his books could be incorporated into a Blade Runner universe. She always toyed with the idea of maybe trying to write fanfiction–taking parts of a story and make it integral to the whole universe.  

Speaking of …

You know, DADoES? She got a sheep! I completely forgot about this! This is hysterical! She bought this stupid little sheep. She put a plug up its ass. And it had this cord coming out. And she said, “Look! It’s my electric sheep!” 

"You’re nuts. You’re’ fucking nuts."

“I know! Isn't ingenious?! Ha-ha!”

Did Sara have anything to say about the Blade Runner soundtrack? The first official soundtrack release was a reinterpretation by the New American Orchestra in 1982. However, the Vangelis score wouldn't be released until 1994.

The soundtrack that came out was on vinyl, and it was orchestral. Rose or Sara bought it. And the first time Sara heard it, she said, “What is this CRAP? This isn’t it. God! This sounds like Star Wars!”

I always felt bad...I lived in New York from 1992 - 1995. I went down to the Village to a record store. And they had the Blade Runner soundtrack, and I bought it. I knew it was a bootleg, but I bought it anyways. I came home and I played it for Rose. And she said, “Where’d did you get it? It’s everything.” And that was a big deal for me. And every time I would listen to this, I'd wonder what Sara would have done if I’d given her this CD. She’d play it over and over and over.

Where do you think she’d be in life now?

Sara was a very good friend. It’s hard to chase back all the years–what things would have been like. I don’t know what she would have done–how far she could have gone. I think, though, that she probably would have been a novelist. 

Anne Elizabeth Zeek was an early Star Wars fan writer and editor, known for her Circle of Fire Star Wars stories, and for editing the multimedia ‘zine Time Warp. In 1982, she won the FanQ award for 'Best Star Wars Writer'. In 1986, her Star Wars stories were collected and published in a single volume, The Complete Zeek.

Anne Elizabeth and Sara Campbell were roommates in NYC from September of 1982 until Sara's untimely death.

Sara and I were drawn together by our appreciation and love for Blade Runner. We knew of each other through media-fandom, contacted one another, and then spent megabucks on phone calls–although we tried to save money by writing voluminously to one another rather than calling all the time.

We quickly realized that we were absolute best friends even though we had never met in person. Even without a face-to-face meeting, we knew our friendship was based on a unity of spirit, emotion, goals... on so much more than just Blade Runner, important though that might have been. We decided that we would both attend the World SF Convention in Baltimore that year, and that Sara would come back to Brooklyn with me. 

We were roommates from September of 1982 until her death. We were both involved in ‘zining at the time–Sara with CitySpeak, myself with Time Warp (a multi-fandom media ‘zine specializing in fanfic)–so you can just imagine the creative energy!

If I remember correctly, I had articles in all of the issues of CitySpeak, (and quite honestly, I don't remember if there were two newsletters and one "special edition", or three newsletters and one special). At this late date, though, I can't immediately bring to mind exactly what the articles were about, although I think there was a psych profile of the movie characters. I also think I had a short story in CitySpeak: the Special Edition, the fictionzine that Sara completed editing just before her death. I promised her I would publish it the last time I spoke to her, and I kept my word.  

Sara was the premiere BR fan amongst NYC media fen in the day, and I am very, very glad to know that her name is still remembered. Anyone who has ever read any of Sara's fiction knows just what a crime it was that she died so young. Such potential, lost. Even after all these years, I grieve.

~ Anne Elizabeth | New York City, October 2008

Rosemary Edghill made her first sale in 1987, when she wrote Turkish Delight, a well-received Regency romance in the style of Georgette Heyer. Turkish Delight was followed by Two of a Kind, Fleeting Fancy, and The Ill-Bred Bride. She then turned to murder mysteries, science fiction and fantasy.  Her latest books, Legacies (Shadow Grail, No. 1), released in 2010, and A Host of Furious Fancies, in 2012, were both written with Mercedes Lackey

Back in the day, I lived downstairs from Sara and Anne in the Brooklyn apartment they shared. I'd been a friend of Anne's for yearshaving met her back in the late 'seventies through Devra Langsam, who ran Poison Pen Press, and one day she introduced me to Sara, whom she'd met through fandom.

In fact, Jennara Wenk and I finished the prep of Cityspeak for press after Sara's death, collecting the last stories and doing the 'zine layout. My recollection of it is that Sara had decided on the order of the stories but had only completed work on a few pages.

My first memory of Sara is thinking: oh my god, that woman is wearing a necktie! And it's *leather*. She was always a very snappy dresser, working the whole Annie Lennox vibe, which was an odd thing to see in predominantly-Hasidic Boro Park.

Sara was a brilliant writer whose best work clearly lay in her future, as with each piece she wrote, her mastery grew. I remember her as also being an artist: she was one of those multi-talented people you often find in fandom. With so many gifts, she could easily have been one of those cold, brilliant, witty people who is always "on", but she wasn't. What she was, first and most, was kind.

I remember one night, I asleep in my bed, Sara and Anne in theirs in the apartment above, I was awakened from sleep by a shriek followed by a loud THUD. I phoned upstairs at once. Sara answered the phone, but she was laughing too hard to speak: Luke Skyjumper, one of Anne's cats, had been perched atop the boxes atop a tall chest of drawers. The quickest way down was to jump directly onto Anne, who was lying in bed. She saw his intention, and shrieked, startling Luke, who jumped directly to the floor instead...

~ Rosemary Edghill | February 2012

               Blade Runner is more than just a movie, it's become a mythology.

How is Blade Runner a mythology? A myth, after all, is a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age, of ancient Egypt, Greece, or Rome. 

Blade Runner is not a myth in the classical sense. However, the myths of antiquity have worked itself into a modern context. Blade Runner shows us the myths that circulate in everyday life. It reveals fundamental truths and insights about human nature. 

It is one of the most literate science fiction films, both thematically – enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of the increasing human mastery of genetic engineering, within the context of classical Greek drama and its notions of hubris – and linguistically, drawing on the poetry of William Blake, and the Bible. 1.
Between the book DADoES, and the various movie scripts and movie versions, it has not only prophesied the many conditions that we are just now opening our eyes to; viz. corporatism, pollution, mood enhancement, species extinctions, and globalization, (just to name a few), but also alerts us to possible impending doom; viz. World War Terminus, genetic mutations, and various influences competing for our "psychic souls"

Blade Runner offers us much to ponder over. What does it mean to be human? What role does empathy play? What do I know about myself? What is my true nature? 

Our survival depends on understanding empathy.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner both contain mythic themes that can be explored creatively. However, copyright law restricts independent authors from extending modern stories. Some critics believe that, because the core characters and stories of modern story cycles are not in the public domain, it prevents the modern story cycles from sharing several essential aspects of mythologies. Fanfiction goes some distance to relieve this problem.

CITYSPEAK represents an early generation of mythmakers–fanlorists–fanfiction writers before the advent of the World Wide Web. They'd meet in person, talk over the telephone, and send letters via the post. It was an underground fannish activity that produced usually no more than a hundred copies of each issue, and was spread primarily by word of mouth or through a friend of a friend.

Nowadays, with the internet at our fingertips, it is much easier–and cheaper–to produce and distribute fanzines than ever before. Currently, there are websites that host fanfiction, such as and However, I find using the Internet Archive to be the best solution for a long-term, reliable external web source for storing and displaying your work.   
And it’s up to the next generation of fanfic writers to make sure that the older stories are available on the web. As Versaphile wrote in her article, titled Silence in the library: Archives and the preservation of fannish history;  

"Those who enter a fandom learn the culture of the fans through their fiction: the fanon explanations, the subtextual relationships that are made text, the rereading and rewriting of source texts into something nurtured and expanded upon. Those new participants who enter the fandom are inspired by what they read, learn from what they read, and build upon it, creating complex and ever-deepening interpretations that are shared with those who came before and after them. Creation of new narratives within the structure of fan fiction is arguably a primary lifeblood of media fandom. This is the importance of stories, and the importance of preservation, and of not allowing them to be swept away by the very technology that enables them to be enjoyed by so many."

I can't express how grateful I am to Eric Larson, Anne Elizabeth Zeek, and Rosemary Edghill for sharing their memories of Sara Campbell with me. 

Since Sara's mention in Paul Sammon's book, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner,(1996), she’s been mentioned in the book, Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1997) by Judith B. Kerman, and on countless Blade Runner fansites. 
The article she wrote, Blade Runner: The New Wave, in the magazine, Fantastic Films, No. 31 (November 1982), has been referenced in the books, Projecting the Shadow: The Cyborg Hero in American Film, by Janice Hocker Rushing and Thomas S. Frentz (1995), and Formes archétypales du nomadisme postmoderne: Le cas Baudelaire et le road movie, de Ulysse à Blade Runner, by Hungyi Chen (2000), and Lo sguardo degli angeli: intorno e oltre Blade Runner, by Paolo Bertetti, and Carlos Alberto Scolari (2002).

It is tempting to speculate how far Sara Campbell could have gone with her writing career. At present, she is known best for her articles, stories, and poetry on Blade Runner. And I believe that she would have wanted the CITYSPEAK issues to be freely available over the internet. As she duly noted in the first issue, "CITYSPEAK is an amateur, non-profit publication." It would be of disservice to the Blade Runner fandomlet alone to the writersif the stories, poems, and articles in this fanzine were to remain in the storage bins of the privileged few. So, I'd like for this website to be the CITYSPEAK athenaeum–a bookshelf containing the fanzine issues, the work of its contributors, and a resource free to all.

This CITYSPEAK revisit is far from being complete. I’ve only the first issue to share and discuss at this time. So, consider this a work in progress–CITYSPEAK Revisited 1.0. As more is learned, it’ll be added to this website. And all updates will be posted in the Site Updates section of this website, and delivered to the Blade Runner fandom via the OFF-WORLD NEWS.   

If anything, this article has raised more questions than answers. What are in those High Rise Life fanzines? Are there any photographs of Sara Campbell with her Pris and Roy dolls? What was said in part two of the discussion, titled A Chitown Talkathon? Hopefully this will spur those in the know to come forth and share the remaining issues of CITYSPEAK–an integral part of Blade Runner fandom history–with the rest of us. 

~ C.A. Chicoine
It was a thrill and an honour to speak with Eric Larson. There was much more said off-topic–about Star Wars, the movie industry, and FilmCon–that wasn't included in this interview. 
And it was an honour corresponding with both Anne Elizabeth Zeek and Rosemary Edghill. They are two very talented and creative people in their own right. And I'd certainly like to chat some more with them.    

I do regret not being able to speak with Rose Arnold. I am sure she would have had a slew of stories to share about Sara and the fanzine. 

Special thanks to Joan Fusté for donating the digital copy of Blade Runner: The New Wave, by Sara Campbell, from the magazine, Fantastic Films, No. 31 (November 1982).

And a very special thank you to Andrew Pokon, for donating the CITYSPEAK Issue #1 to be freely distributed. It was his act of sharing this integral part of Blade Runner fandom history that spawned this revisit

All digital files are available to view and/or download from the Links section of this website.

The Electric Sheep art is courtesy of the Breadpig Shop. The origami unicorn art is courtesy of the Cornell University Library Digital Consulting and Production Services.  

This is a work in progress ...


About me:

C.A. Chicoine got "hooked" on Blade Runner back in 1994 after the purchase of the Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack release–being a big Vangelis fan. After watching the Director's Cut, he got involved with the Blade Runner online community at BladeZone's Off-world Forums, where he eventually became a moderator before finally becoming the administrator in 2006. In 2005, he created the KippleZone website–a DADoES/Blade Runner fanfiction site. In 2010, he retired from being the forum administrator at the Off-world forums. In 2007, Craig wrote lyrics to the music of Marco Spatuzzi for Blade Runner: The Rock Project. Also in 2007, he revived the OFF-WORLD NEWS–a Blade Runner newsletter–from its slumber, which he continues to coordinate to this day.

Besides this article, he has also written another Blade Runner related article, titled, Douglas Trumbull: In Retrospect. In addition, he's written the DADoES/Blade Runner fanfiction stories, Tomorrow Started and Awaiting Dawn, and a crossover fanfiction story, titled, Blade Runner: The Peter Griffin Cut. He also researched, compiled, and wrote KIPPLEPEDIA--a "DADoES" and "Blade Runner" Glossary.

C.A. Chicoine resides in Massachusetts writing books, poetry, lyrics, and music.

Other online articles edited and compiled by this writer include the following:

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